Category Archives: Canberra

Monster Kitchen and Bar

Location: Hotel Hotel – 25 Edinburgh Ave Canberra

Opening hours: 6.30am – 1am every day

Phone: (02) 6287 6287

Website: http://www.hotel-hotel.com.au/eat-and-drink/monster/

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I have been contemplating for awhile as to whether to review my dinner experience at Monster Kitchen & Bar. This was because I had a very different dining experience to everyone else.

Monster Kitchen & Bar’s menu is designed for sharing so I felt that it was the perfect place for “K’s” birthday bash.

Once the group was seated, the waiter explained the “Monster Kitchen & bar” ordering method, recommending the number of dishes we should order to gain the best possible dining experience. Unfortunately this did not work out with such a big group as everyone wanted to try different dishes. The waiter kept on insisting that we order shared dishes that by the time everyone decided on what dishes to share, their dining experience was already ruined.

Lucky for me, due to my fructose intolerance, the waiter ‘allowed’ me to order my own dishes.

I think the kitchen was going for a French-Japanese / French-Korean fusion theme with my dishes.

Eggplant, smoked goat’s curd, katsuobushi and sesame ($18)

Eggplant, smoked goat’s curd, katsuobushi and sesame ($18)

The eggplant dish: The eggplant had an intense smoky miso flavour. When eaten in combination with the goat’s curd, the creamy texture of the curd smoothed out the strong miso flavour. It was a really interesting play on textures and flavours.

Dutton Park duck breast, heirloom carrots roasted in duck fat, kimchi and horseradish crème ($28)

Dutton Park duck breast, heirloom carrots roasted in duck fat, kimchi and horseradish crème ($28)

The duck breast dish: When the waiter informed me of their fructose-free house-made kimchi cucumber, I was super excited as I have been missing Korean food since I’ve started on my fructose-free diet. The duck breast was cooked perfectly with the fat rendered down and pink in the middle. When eaten in combination with the kimchi cucumber and horseradish crème, it was divine.

I was one happy fatty bunny that night!

Final thoughts: I had a wonder dining experience and I found the combination of flavours very interesting. BUT the rest of the group did not particularly enjoy their meal and left still feeling hungry.

First impression: 4/10

Customer service: 4/10

Food: 7/10

Value for money: 4/10

Monster Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

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Remedy by Lonsdale Street Roasters

Location: 39 Benjamin Way, Belconnen, ACT 2616

Opening hours: Mon – Fri (7.00am – 3.00pm); Sat (8.00am – 1.00pm)

Website: https://www.facebook.com/remedybylonsdalestroastersbelconnen

To celebrate the end of the week, a bunch of us went to have lunch at ‘Remedy by Lonsdale Street Roasters’.

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Remedy has been open for around 2 weeks so their menu is still quite limited. Unfortunately they do not currently offer gluten-free meal options. Seeing as I’m onto phase 2 of my fructose-free / low FODMAP diet (this involves testing out different foods to see what I can and cannot tolerate), I gave the beef brisket burger a go.

9 hour slow cooked beef brisket & expresso BBQ sauce & rocket

9 hour slow cooked beef brisket & expresso BBQ sauce & rocket

The burger was pretty awesome – it was served in a brioche bun with generous amounts of meat. The beef brisket was tender and flavoursome but there were some slices of meat where they had not rendered off the fat properly. This is only a slight criticism to an awesome Friday lunch.

Seeing as Lonsdale Street Roasters is famous for their coffee, I had to try it out. How adorable is the coffee art!

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Final thoughts: Delicious food & great coffee. Cannot wait to see what more they will offer & hopefully they will expand their menu to cater for dietary needs.

First impression: 7/10

Customer service: 7/10

Food: 7/10

Value for money: 7/10

Remedy by Lonsdale Street Roasters on Urbanspoon

Loading Zone

Location: 22 Odgers Lane, Canberra, 2601

Opening hours: Mon – Fri (7.00am – 3.15pm); Sat (8.00am – 2.00pm)

Phone: (02) 6248 6400

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Loading-Zone/261251113992709

Missing Melbourne alittle bit too much these days, I dragged ‘L’ to the Loading Zone for brunch and girl chat time. This café is tucked away in an alleyway and is literally set up…in a loading zone. The Loading Zone only offers outdoor seating but they do have heaters set up.

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Upon arrival, we were quickly seated and our drinks orders were taken. As always, I started off with a skim cappuccino. The coffee was nothing special.

Skim cappuccino ($4)

Skim cappuccino ($4)

I must say the customer service here was exceptional. When informing the waitress of my fructose intolerance, the chef / owner actually came to our table to discuss what dish they could put together for me. Both ‘L’ and I ordered the parmesan & basil stirred eggs with tomatoes and bacon.

Parmesan & basil stirred eggs with tomatoes & bacon ($17)

Parmesan & basil stirred eggs with tomatoes & bacon ($17)

I liked my meal, in particular, the creamy scrambled eggs. I was not a big fan of the bacon and would have preferred if they rendered down the bacon fat.

Final thoughts: Nice homely breakfast options. I am definitely interested in returning to try their lunch menu.

First impression: 9/10

Customer service: 9/10

Food: 7/10

Value for money: 7/10

Loading Zone on Urbanspoon

Aubergine

Location: 18 Baker Street Griffith ACT 2603

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 6pm 

Phone: (02) 6260 8666

Website: http://www.aubergine.com.au

For “G’s” farewell dinner we decided to go “all-out” and dine at Aubergine. I felt rather special as they personalised a fructose-free & lactose-free menu just for moi!

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I had my own gluten-free bread and olive oil starter! Off to an excellent start Aubergine!

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Everyone started off with the same first course – ‘Leather jacket, braised fennel, rice paddy herb, scallop floss’. The only difference that I could see between my fructose-free dish and everyone else’s dish was that my piece of fish was grilled whereas theirs were crumbed. I must say this was my favourite savoury dish; the leather jacket was perfectly cooked and so silky smooth. I really liked how they maintained the integrity of the fish with minimal seasoning. The rice paddy herb sauce combined all the different components, and in my opinion, was the star of the dish. The scallop floss was an interesting touch, but in terms of flavouring, I didn’t feel that it added anything extra to the dish.

First course: Leather jacket, braised fennel, rice paddy herb, scallop floss

First course: Leather jacket, braised fennel, rice paddy herb, scallop floss

My second dish was the ‘Palmers Island mulloway, celtuce, braised seaweed, egg yolk’. Another fish dish but a completely different taste bud adventure, taking me all the way to Japan. The braised seaweed had an interesting paste-like consistency with a slight smokiness to it.

Second course: Palmers Island mulloway, celtuce, braised seaweed, egg yolk

Second course: Palmers Island mulloway, celtuce, braised seaweed, egg yolk

My third dish was the ‘Lion of venison, red cabbage, crimson potatoes, horseradish’. This dish was the same as the original version. ‘K’ commented that the vinegar jus was just too overpowering, and although the venison was cooked well, we both found this dish somewhat disappointing.

Third course: Lion of venison, red cabbage, crimson potatoes, horseradish

Third course: Lion of venison, red cabbage, crimson potatoes, horseradish

The forth and final dish was ‘Thai pepper cream, strawberry fruit granita, whipped strawberry’. This dessert was AMAZEBALLS! The strawberry fruit granita had a jelly-like consistency. When mixed with the thai pepper cream and whipped strawberry, it kinda reminded me of milk froth (real light and fluffy!).

This dessert was not overly sweet or rich; and was a refreshing way to finish off the night without weighing me down.

Forth course: Thai pepper cream, strawberry fruit granita, whipped strawberry

Forth course: Thai pepper cream, strawberry fruit granita, whipped strawberry

Final thoughts: eagerly anticipating what they will have on their menu next season!

First impression: 9/10

Customer service: 10/10

Food: 9/10

Value for money: 9/10

Aubergine on Urbanspoon

Broddog

Location: Level 3 carpark, Westfield Belconnen (Outback Jack’s exit)

Following the American food scene, Brodburger has expanded into the hotdog arena.

Broddog has set-up stall at the Westfield Belconnen carpark and will be there for the next 3 months.

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Broddog offers 8 different types of hotdogs: Chilli Dog, New Yorker, American Dog, Omi Dog, Aussie Sizzle, The Veggie, Broddog and Chilli Cheese Dog.

Chilli Cheese Dog: your choice of dog with beef chilli, fondue cheese sauce, corn relish & shaved gruyere cheese ($10.50)

‘Z’ ordered the chilli cheese dog. She really liked the chicken sausage and thought that it was seasoned well. She found that the combination of beef chilli worked really well with the mayo. Her only criticism was that it was abit too greasy.

New Yorker: Double smoked pork frankfurt, sweet tomato relish topped with German style sauerkraut, speck and American mustard ($9)

New Yorker: Double smoked pork frankfurt, sweet tomato relish topped with German style sauerkraut, speck and American mustard ($9)

‘K’ ordered the New Yorker. He enjoyed his dog but found the mustard slightly overpowering and couldn’t really taste anything else.

The Veggie: seasoned fried popcorn cauliflower & eggplant, drowned in a fondue cheese sauce, topped with sweet potato ribbons & shaved gruyere cheese ($8.50)

The Veggie: seasoned fried popcorn cauliflower & eggplant, drowned in a fondue cheese sauce, topped with sweet potato ribbons & shaved gruyere cheese ($8.50)

I ordered The Veggie with gluten-free bread. The original ‘The Veggie’ hotdog comes with fried popcorn cauliflower but this was omitted to cater for my fructose intolerance. The Veggie dog wasn’t really a hotdog as it did not come with a sausage; instead it is substituted with eggplant. The eggplant was flavoursome and I really liked the crispy sweet potato ribbons, which added a touch of sweetness to the dog. I would have liked to see more eggplant in proportion to the mountain of cheese stacked on top.

Cheesy chips: fondue cheese & grated gruyere cheese ($6.50)

Cheesy chips: fondue cheese & grated gruyere cheese ($6.50)

We also ordered a side of cheesy chips to share. The chips were rather mediocre.

Final thoughts: we all enjoyed our afternoon snack but it was quite expensive for such a small meal.

First impression: 8/10

Customer service: 8/10

Food: 6/10

Value for money: 4/10

Temporada

Location: 15 Moore Street, Canberra City
 ACT 2601

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday (12pm til late) 

Phone: (02) 6249 6683

Website: http://www.temporada.com.au

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I’m not usually this efficient with my restaurant reviews but I really do feel that this is one review that needs to be done asap.

Temporada is run by the same people who own Aubergine (which I love!) so I was expecting great things from them.

As I wanted to ensure that they could cater for my dietary needs, I emailed them a list of what I can and cannot eat, as well as pre-ordering my meal for that night. After not hearing back from Temporda for a couple days, I gave them a call to confirm that they have received my email and was assured that the chef could cater for my fructose intolerance.

Once arriving at the restaurant, the waiter took our drinks order. When I informed the waiter that I was fructose intolerant and inquired as to what was in the cocktail to ensure that I could drink it, he was very dismissive and impatient with my concerns.

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When it came time to order our dishes, I notified the waiter that I had pre-ordered my meal due to my special dietary needs. Even though I pointed out that I had emailed the restaurant as to what I can and cannot eat, the waiter requested that I list all the items again. When he realized that this was a very long list, he abruptly cut me off.

As the menu clearly stated that the wagyu rump included kale, I specifically pointed out that I could not eat kale. When my dish arrived *surprise surprise* there was kale. There really wasn’t any point in sending my dish back as it was very clear by then that they did not take my dietary needs seriously.

Clockwise: Wagyu rump cap, kale, smoked potato ($36); Duck Cassoulet ($30); Steamed spring bay mussels, harissa & coconut broth ($25)

Clockwise: Wagyu rump cap, kale, smoked potato ($36); Duck Cassoulet ($30); Steamed spring bay mussels, harissa & coconut broth ($25)

‘J’ found his Duck coussalet rather mediocre, ‘S’ liked (but did not love) her Mussel dish, and ‘G’ and I both agree that the wagyu rump tasted nice but nothing special.

Salted caramel parfait, peanuts, chocolate ganache, orange ($16)

Salted caramel parfait, peanuts, chocolate ganache, orange ($16)

‘S’ who loves anything salted caramel was very disappointed with this dessert. This was the first time I’ve seen her not finish a dessert dish. She pointed out that the chocolate ganache was too rich and combined with the salted caramel parfait; it was just rich-on-rich, making the overall dish way too heavy.

I think it’s great that the Canberra food scene is growing, but regardless of how great the food is, if a restaurant cannot cater for dietary needs (e.g. allergies, gluten-free, fructose intolerance, etc) then this is a serious issue as they are putting their customers at risk.

Final thoughts: Will not return! They do not take dietary needs seriously and I was very sick after dining here.

First impression: 7/10

Customer service: 0/10

Food: 4.5/10

Value for money: 0/10

Temporada on Urbanspoon

A. Baker

Location: New Acton, Pavilion 
Unit 2, 15 Edinburgh Ave
 Canberra ACT 

Opening hours: Monday to Friday (7:00am to 10pm); Saturday (8:00am to 10.00pm); Sunday & Public Holidays (8:00am to 4.00pm)

Phone: (02) 6287 6150

Website: http://www.abaker.com.au

Another weekend, another brunch location. A. Baker is located in New Action, not an area I often visit, but I do remember ‘R’ mentioning that it is the ‘yuppy’ side of Canberra.

Starting off with a coffee …

Skim cappuccino ($4)

Skim cappuccino ($4)

The coffee was really watery and I did not enjoy it at all.

Clockwise: Soft white polenta, smoked murray cod, rosemary & anchovy gremolata, grilled gluten-free bread ($18); Granola, puffed millet, rhubarb, raisins, vanilla yoghurt ($12); Pie of the day with salad ($14); Capunti pasta, roast lamb neck, caramelised garlic, charred cauliflower, lemon ($18); Smorrebrod - pumpernickel, house-cured salmon, radishes & pickles ($19)

Clockwise: Soft white polenta, smoked murray cod, rosemary & anchovy gremolata, grilled gluten-free bread ($18); Granola, puffed millet, rhubarb, raisins, vanilla yoghurt ($12); Pie of the day with salad ($14); Capunti pasta, roast lamb neck, caramelised garlic, charred cauliflower, lemon ($18); Smorrebrod – pumpernickel, house-cured salmon, radishes & pickles ($19)

After abit of to-ing and fro-ing with the chef as to which brunch dish could be made to become fructose-free, I ended up ordering the Soft white polenta, smoked murray cod, rosemary & anchovy gremolata, grilled gluten-free bread.

Everyone enjoyed their meals, but surprisingly, my fructose-free dish was everyone’s favourite. The soft white polenta reminded me of really creamy scrambled eggs, which was delicious!

We had such an awesome brunch experience, that we made dinner reservations for that same night… 

We were all super excited about dinner as the menu sounded amazing. I preordered my meal earlier that day, which the chefs were more than happy to accommodate.

Entrées:

South Coast oyster ($4 each) & Salmon belly ($20)

South Coast oyster ($4 each) & Salmon belly ($20)

The salmon belly was perfectly seasoned and it was so rich and buttery that it just melted in my mouth. My dish came with wafer thin potato crisps and the crunch factor added a nice touch to the dish. I was glad I did not have to share my entrée with anyone!

Large plates ($29):

Top to bottom: Snowy River Trout, smoked yellow beets, brioche, kipfler potato & Dutton Park duck breast, Jerusalem artichoke, king brown mushrooms, pickled mustard seeds, watercress

Top to bottom: Snowy River Trout, smoked yellow beets, brioche, kipfler potato & Dutton Park duck breast, Jerusalem artichoke, king brown mushrooms, pickled mustard seeds, watercress

Golden plains suckling pork belly, smoked potato mash, sweet and sour radicchio

Golden plains suckling pork belly, smoked potato mash, sweet and sour radicchio

My pre-ordered Golden plains suckling pork belly, smoked potato mash, sweet and sour radicchio dish was just as mouth wateringly amazing as I imagined it to be. Even ‘J’, who is an expert in pork belly, gave this dish his stamp of approval. What I loved about this dish was the perfect balance of flavours, where the sour radicchio cut through the richness of the smoked mash and pork belly.

‘G’ also raved on about her Snowy River Trout, smoked yellow beets, brioche, kipfler potato dish, which I definitely plan on ordering next time I dine at A. Baker (dinner tomorrow…anyone??)

Final thoughts: Top notch customer service, mind blowingly delicious food!

First impression: 8/10

Customer service: 10/10

Food: 9/10

Value for money: 8.5/10

A. Baker on Urbanspoon

Morks

Location: 18/19 Eastlake Parade, Kingston Foreshore ACT

Opening hours: Lunch (Tues – Sun from 12pm); Dinner (Tues – Sat from 6pm)

Phone: (02) 6295 0112

Website: http://morks.com.au

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Asian fusion cuisine has been an ongoing trend; and although I love my Asian food, from a fructose point of view, there really aren’t many dishes I can eat. Morks, specialising in contemporary Thai cuisine, has been getting a lot of positive reviews lately, so The Girls and I decided to venture down to Kingston and check out what all the fuss is about.

You can never start a night out without some wine!

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The dishes are made for sharing, but due to my specific dietary needs, I ordered separate dishes to everyone else.

The Girls ordered the follow entrees to share:

Top to bottom: Soft shell crab, curried potato and leek ($16) & Chicken wontons, pork masterstock, sticky soy ($15); seared scallop dish with lime and basil ($16); BBQ pork bun ($5 each)

Top to bottom: Soft shell crab, curried potato and leek ($16) & Chicken wontons, pork masterstock, sticky soy ($15); seared scallop dish with lime and basil ($16); BBQ pork bun ($5 each)

For my entrée, the kitchen put together a seared scallop dish with lime and basil. The scallops were seared beautifully.

The Mains:

Duck red curry, crispy rice cake ($27); Pork belly, caramel, kapi rice and apple salad ($27); Sweet & sour fried chicken ($25)

Duck red curry, crispy rice cake ($27); Pork belly, caramel, kapi rice and apple salad ($27); Sweet & sour fried chicken ($25)

It was an unanimous decision that the duck red curry was the highlight. The duck meat was tender and just fell off the bone! Wish I could have tried it!

The kitchen made a ‘special chicken’ dish for me:

Chicken breast with pumpkin, witloft and a sixtyfour° egg ($22)

Chicken breast with pumpkin, witloft and a sixtyfour° egg ($22)

When the waiter told me about the dish they were preparing for me, I was actually quite disappointed. The idea of paying for boiled chicken did not appeal to me one bit. But I must take my hat off to the chefs – the chicken was cooked to perfection and the sixtyfour° egg had a really interesting ‘jellylike’ texture.

Final thoughts: When you think of contemporary Asian dishes, you tend to expect punchy intense flavours, which Morks definitely hit the marks. But the clean flavours they created in my dishes were absolutely delicious and really highlighted the chef’s culinary skills.

First impression: 8/10

Customer service: 10/10

Food: 9/10

Value for money: 7/10

Morks Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sage Dining Rooms

Location: Gorman House Arts Centre/Batman St, Braddon ACT 2612

Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday (Lunch: 12pm – 2pm; Dinner: 5:30pm – 10pm)

Phone: (02) 6249 6050

Website: http://www.sagerestaurant.net.au

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After rave reviews from my friend ‘Z’ about her dining experience at Sage, I immediately called to make reservations. When I informed them of my fructose-free dietary needs, after a very long pause, they suggested that we dine at the early session (6pm) so that the kitchen can personalize a degustation menu for me.

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Once seated, our waiter introduced us to the cocktail for the night – Fig & lavender champagne. Not something I can drink but how amazing does it look! ‘L’ and ‘Z’ (who are not big fans of alcohol) found it delicious.

photo All 3 of us got the 5 course degustation menu. ‘L’ and ‘Z’ got soft drink / mocktail pairings ($25) and I got wine pairings ($45).

Soft drink pairings ($25)

Soft drink pairings ($25)

Due to my specific dietary needs, my menu was alittle different from everyone else’s and I will only be reviewing the dishes I was served.

Sugar cured ocean trout with avocado, wasabi, lime citrus

Sugar cured ocean trout – avocado, wasabi, lime citrus

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Confit vegetables

Glazed pork belly with eggplant puree

Glazed pork belly with eggplant puree

Ashed pork loin - clams and roasted vegetables

Ashed pork loin – clams and roasted vegetables

Caramel popcorn parfait – peanut and burnt butter snow

Caramel popcorn parfait – peanut and burnt butter snow

All dishes were amazing – My favourite dish of the night was the sugar cured ocean trout and my least favourite was the ashed pork loin.

‘L’ was the only one in the 3 of us who did not have any specific dietary requirements and had the regular degustation menu. ‘L’ found the caramel popcorn parfait the best dish of the night.

Final thoughts: They went out of their way to cater for my dietary needs. Will definitely return. 

First impression: 10/10

Customer service: 10/10

Food: 9/10 

Value for money 9/10

Sage Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Cupping Room

Location: 1/13 University Avenue Canberra ACT 2601

Opening hours: Monday – Friday (7am – 4pm); Saturday (8am – 3pm)

Phone: (02) 6257 6412

Website: https://www.facebook.com/canberracuppingroom

The cupping room is relatively new (I think it opened at the beginning of this year) and is part of the ONA family. Arriving at Saturday noon, the cafe was bustling, and for a second, I thought I was back in Melbourne.

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The cupping room has an amazing menu, comprised of a range of different coffee blends and a selection of drool-worthy meal options.

It’s not brunch if you don’t order a coffee! ‘S’ and I decided to try their special coffee blends:

I ordered the Malawian Mocca (50% Brazil, 25% El Salvador Supersonic, 25% Indian ‘Thalanar’ Estate) – notes of chocolate. ($3.50)

‘S’ ordered the Seasonal Blend (50% Indian ‘Deep Purple’, 50% El Salvador Divisadero) – notes of berries & macadamias ($3.50)

Malawian Mocca

Malawian Mocca ($3.50)

OMGAWD!!! The coffee was out of this world! The subtle hint of chocolate added another dimensional to the already amazing coffee that ONA produces.

‘G’ ordered from their ‘special of the day’ menu – ‘Cauliflower fritters with quinoa salad’ (sorry I don’t remember the exact name of the dish).

Cauliflower fritters & quinoa salad ($17)

Cauliflower fritters & quinoa salad ($17)

Both ‘S’ and I ordered the Benedito – Slow roasted roma tomatoes, wilted spinach, two poached open-range eggs & ‘Guacacassa’ on toasted sourdough.

The only tweaks I required for the Benedito to become fructose-free was no garlic to be added to the wilted spinach and substitute the sourdough for gluten-free bread (additional $1 for gluten-free bread).

Benedito: Slow roasted roma tomatoes, wilted spinach, two poached open-range eggs & ‘Guacacassa’ on toasted sourdough ($17)

Benedito: Slow roasted roma tomatoes, wilted spinach, two poached open-range eggs & ‘Guacacassa’ on toasted  sourdough ($17)

Somehow The cupping room has made gluten-free bread delicious! Maybe it was the runny egg yolk soaking into the bread or the juices from the roasted tomatoes; regardless, the dish was amazing! What I loved most about the dish was the guacacassa paste (avocado & tabasco). The paste tied all the different components together and added a nice kick to the dish, taking it from a ‘oh this is nice’ dish to an ‘omgawd’ dish!

Final thoughts: Generous portions, delicious food, amazing coffee! New favourite brunch place!

First impression: 9/10

Customer service: 8/10

Food: 9/10

Value for money: 9/10

The Cupping Room on Urbanspoon